Superstition: Alive & Well in Baseball

Well, the Texas Rangers did it again for the second year in a row — a trip to the World Series!

I grew up in Arlington Texas and my first ever job was selling gifts and souvenirs in a stand that looked like a big baseball hat – very festive! I must admit I’m more of a hockey fan over baseball (it’s typically just too slow for me to stay engaged), however, this past week watching the Texas Rangers has been really exciting!

I knew superstition played a role in many sports, but in baseball, it appears that superstition goes way beyond the players and spills over to the fans. The group of people I watched the games with were very conscious of what they wore, what they drank, (which could be tricky, considering the quantity that was being imbibed), the seating arrangements, etc. … and when we won, they would try to replicate the same setting, thinking it would bring good luck. When we lost a game, they would change EVERYTHING so that it would be a clean slate and no bad luck karma would follow us to the next game.

According to the dictionary, superstition means: a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like; Blindly accepting a belief or notion. Superstition is present in all parts of baseball, from the very famous “Curse of the Bambino” some players’ refusal to wash their clothes or bodies after a win. Many baseball players—batter, pitchers, and fielders alike — perform elaborate, repetitive routines prior to pitches and at bats due to superstition.

It got me thinking, since I’m constantly looking for blog ideas, how many people I’ve known in my career who seem to take a superstitious approach in managing their career.  By that I mean, they get caught up in their circumstances, politics, what others are doing that are impacting their career rather than taking ownership in their quality of work and hunkering down to put in the effort and show what value they bring to their organization.

Too often people focus on the things that are out of their control and believe those things will make a difference in their destiny. Maybe it’s because we see it in our professional athletes but why would you put YOUR career to chance like that?

If this approach rings true for you, you are most likely living in a “reactive” manner vs. a “proactive” manner. Proactive people have a positive energy and are in a position of taking control of situations to influence the outcome. Those in a reactive state are basically allowing external forces to control their circumstances. By working on ourselves instead of worrying about conditions, we can influence our conditions.

In other words, it’s MUCH more productive to spend your time and energy on the things within your control.  Anytime we think the problem is “out there” that thought IS the problem. What’s OUT THERE has to change before we can change.

The pro-active approach is to change from the inside-out.  Always ask: What can I do about this situation?

So if you hear yourself saying things like:  “I’ll be happy when …” or “If only I had a better boss …” or maybe even, “If I had taken that other job …” It’s time to stop looking at external factors and take charge of your career to make it what YOU want it to be.

This concept applies to all aspects of your life, not just your career. You have control over the kind of player you will be in your personal World Series called LIFE! If you are in an undesirable situation, do something about it and don’t play the blame game – you’ll strike out every time.